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Three Jewish leaders named to US heritage government agency

The U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad helps protect endangered cemeteries, monuments and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe.

A restored Jewish cemetery in the Serbian town of Bela Crkva. Credit: Courtesy of ESJF.
A restored Jewish cemetery in the Serbian town of Bela Crkva. Credit: Courtesy of ESJF.

U.S. President Joe Biden named three Jewish leaders to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, a nearly-40-year-old U.S. government agency that helps protect endangered cemeteries, monuments and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe.

Rabbi Abba Cohen, vice president for government affairs and Washington director of Agudath Israel of America; Joseph Douek, a businessman and philanthropist; and Yair Robinson, senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Emeth, a Reform synagogue In Wilmington, Del., were tapped for the position on June 16.

The commission was created following “the Holocaust and 45 years of atheist Communist governments,” according to its website. “The Holocaust annihilated much of Europe’s Jewish population, killing most Jews and forcing others to flee. In many countries, none were left to continue to care for the communal properties that represented a historic culture in the area and have importance within the Jewish religion.”

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